Derry-born Nobel Prize winner William C. Campbell whose discovery radically reduced River Blindness and could be effective against SARS-CoV-2 has published a new memoir ‘Catching The Worm’

A new memoir by the Nobel Prize-winning Derry man Dr. William C. Campbell has been published by the Royal Irish Academy in partnership with the RDS.

Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 11:39 am

Dr. Campbell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2015 for developing a therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

The scientist received the award alongside Professor Satoshi Ōmura for his discovery of Avermectin, derivatives of which have radically lowered the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis.

One such derivative, Ivermectin, is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines and has lately ben proven to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in monkey cells.

William C. Campbell, a parasitologist and RISE Associate with Drew University, shortly after learning that he was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine.

Dr. Campbell was born in Derry in 1930 but grew up in Ramelton. In ‘Catching The Worm – A Memoir’, written with Claire O’Connell, the now retired Prof. Campbell recalls his early life in Donegal and studying zoology in TCD, then moving to the US to work as a parasitologist. He received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1957.

From 1957-1990 he was with the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, from 1984-1990 as Senior Scientist and Director for Assay Research and Development. While working with the company Merck, he helped to discover several drugs to control parasitic worms. Ivermectin, has spared millions of people from the devastating effects of river blindness.

Through his memoir, Campbell provides a snapshot of growing up in Ireland before and during World War II, as well as insights into science, the arts, teaching, family and what really matters in life.

‘Catching The Worm’ was launched on Sunday.